Customer Service – Building a High Performing Team Culture

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					?The power of Team Culture is extremely influential on the performance of our
Customer Service Team and the quality of Service we deliver to our Customers. Team
Culture is THE most important influencer.

In Customer Service, our goal is that each of our Customers will receive high quality
Customer Service and an experience of us that will exceed their expectations on each
and every call to our Organization. Each caller will have a memorable experience that
will encourage him or her to return and to buy more.

To achieve this goal, we employ good recruits, train them well and pay a fair wage.
Will this, then, ensure that this new Team Member will one day be capable of
delivering excellent Customer Service? A better question might be, will the new Team
Member even want to TRY to achieve a successful outcome for us and for our

The Power of Team Culture
The answer to this depends to a small degree on the person themselves. It depends to
a much, much larger degree on the nature of the Team in to which they are placed -
the Culture of that specific group. Within days of training, the group will be
influencing this new person's thinking. They will talk about their role and their
Customers in a way that reflects the beliefs and values of their specific group. ‘These
Customers are all stupid - they never listen properly'. ‘Customer's are always blaming
us, and it's not our fault'. ‘Our products are not good and that's why Customers are
always upset.'

Each of these statements reflect a DIFFERENT type of Team Culture. Each Culture is
identifiable and the people within that Culture will behave in a predictable way with
their Customers - the Culture will determine the behaviour. In the cases above, each
group will behave in a way that will definitely NOT lead to a positive Customer
Service experience. For example, a Team that believes that they are the experts and
that they are above these really stupid Customers will be aggressive and impatient
with their callers. They will not apply skills with their Customers and they will be
resistant to any training. This Aggressive Team believes that they are not the issue, it
is the Customers who are the problem!

Other casual statements made by Team Members will quickly identify the Submissive
Team Culture and the Passive Aggressive Team Culture. The interesting thing about
Team Culture is that it is so influential. New recruits quickly believe that the Team's
understanding of the world is true and ‘common sense'. They adopt the beliefs and
attitudes that support that specific Team Culture and this drives the norms of
behaviour within the Team - what is Ok to do or not do within this group. If we want
to change the Team performance - we need to change the BELIEFS.

The Beliefs of a Successful Customer Service Team
A high performing Customer Service Team has a very identifiable Team culture - the
Assertive, Customer Focused Culture. They have a set of beliefs, attitudes and norms
of behaviour that ENABLES them to perform exceptionally well with their Customers
and motivates them to continuously improve. Remember Team Culture comes from
the shared beliefs of the Team. We achieve this Assertive, Customer Focused Culture
by identifying the desired beliefs, and by constantly building and supporting these
beliefs within our Team Culture.
It is possible to change the culture of a Company or simply your own Team. We
change the culture by working at changing the beliefs.

The essential beliefs are -
1. This is a GOOD Company - worth working for
2. What we do as a Company is of VALUE to our customers. (including Exceeding
3. Our Customers are important. External are most important. Internal are customers
4. We are ALL part of this Company - connected to a shared purpose
5. Our Team Purpose is important - we have a vital contribution to make to our
Shared Purpose
6. My work has value - I make a difference - what I do is important to the
achievement of our Team Shared Purpose
7. Every Team Member belongs to this Team. Each has responsibility to achieve, to
meet Team Leader expectations. Each has responsibility to manage & exceed
Customer expectations
8. Success is good - achievement is good
9. To succeed we must get better and better - as individuals and as a high
performing Team
10. We are a good Team - and next month / year we will be a BETTER Team

These beliefs are the key to success in Customer Service. If you are on a Management
Team, encourage your Managers to work on improving one belief per month. Use the
same method if you are a Team Leader. Get the Team involved by brainstorming
HOW we can improve each belief. You will soon reap the benefits in terms of better
performance, increased motivation and improved job satisfaction.

Kate Tammemagi is Customer Service Trainer and Consultant in Ireland. She designs
and delivers customized Customer Service Training and Complaint Handling